Neil Harmon Hartman

Hartman—Neil Harmon Hartman, 97, on February 6, 2018, in Medford, N.J. Neil was born on June 8, 1920, in Cedarville, Ohio, the fourth and last child of Lida Owings and George Hartman. His Methodist upbringing profoundly influenced him, as did Quaker workcamps in Michigan and Mexico in the summers before and after graduation from Cedarville College in mathematics and science in 1941. When he decided after these camps that as a Christian he could not kill another person, his local draft board refused his attempted conscientious objector (CO) registration, granting it only after several failed appeals and help from the National Service Board for Religious Objectors (NSBRO). Meanwhile, he taught high school science in Marysville, Ohio, in 1941–1942.

As a CO, he drove heavy machinery for an irrigation project; served as an orderly at Byberry Hospital; volunteered as a human guinea pig for hepatitis research at University of Pennsylvania; and shipped livestock to Europe and Asia for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA), employed by them in 1946 for four more trips.

In 1947, he began teaching mathematics at George School, where he met Venette Addison Shearer. They married in 1948, and for three years ran an American Friends Service Committee neighborhood center in Toyama Heights, Japan, providing kindergarten, English and sewing lessons, and dance classes. He learned to call square dances, and Japan affected him profoundly; he maintained the bonds he formed there for the rest of his life.

In 1952, he and Venette joined Moorestown (N.J.) Meeting when he started teaching mathematics and religion at Moorestown Friends School (MFS). Known as a stern, no-nonsense teacher with a dry wit, he coached boys’ varsity tennis, acted in school plays, instructed the May Day dancers, organized alumni lobster dinners, and shopped for the food cooperative. He earned a master’s degree from Temple University, participated in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and served as a draft counselor. In the summers, along with managing an ice cream stand, running a tennis camp, or tutoring, he took his family traveling with a tent trailer each year and told tales of childhood escapades, delighting the children on family visits and reunions with his siblings.

His life darkened with Venette’s death in 1975 and his daughter Holly Lynn’s in 1978. After Venette’s death, he renewed his acquaintance with Marian B. Weinberger, a nurse whom he’d met at the 1940 workcamp in Michigan, and they married in 1978. He retired in 1985 and served Friends World Committee for Consultation, clerked Moorestown Meeting’s bicentennial celebration (1985–1986), and guided tours at Philadelphia’s historic Arch Street Meeting House. He and Marian camped and traveled in the United States and abroad: Japan (long-awaited), the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Denmark, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. They moved to Medford Leas in 1998. He served on the MFS School Committee in 1997–2005, and the school named a new building after him in 2012.

He worked for peace his whole life, facilitating cultural bridges, hosting international guests, and protesting war well into his 90s. He was a caring father and grandfather, a dedicated teacher who affected the lives of countless students, and a man who contributed to international understanding and peace.

Marian died in 2017. Neil is survived by two daughters, Sandra M. Hartman Reid (Joseph M.) and Judith A. Hartman (Michael L. DeKay); four grandchildren; and six nieces and nephews. Contributions are welcome to either of the following: Moorestown Friends School, 110 E. Main Street, Moorestown, NJ 08057-2949,; or Heifer Foundation, the Seagoing Cowboys Endowment, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202,

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